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My resistance training journey began the summer after my first season of high school swimming. Born missing my left leg, my primary goal at the time was merely to keep up with my able-bodied teammates in the pool.
Looking for a leg up, so to speak, I decided I needed to put on some serious muscle. Like any good little researcher, I hit the library. My best find was Getting Stronger by Bill Pearl.
Each afternoon that summer, I took the book with me into the free weight room in the basement of the local YMCA and honed my skills. A typical day’s workout might have consisted of three sets of bicep curls, chest flys, calf raises, upright rows, wrist curls, and leg extensions – in that haphazard order, or something like it.
Despite the bastardized program design, I made good gains. Moreover, I really enjoyed doing it. After Getting Stronger, I went on to devour books on plyometrics, eccentric training, active-isolated stretching, nutrition, and the psychological aspects of peak performance. Little did I know that my hobby would turn into a career years later.
As my strength improved, so did my swimming. I decided to swim in college, and I set my sights on the 2012 Paralympic Games. To get to that next level, though, I knew I needed some extra help in the weight room. Instead of juicing, I hired an NPTI-educated personal trainer. My strength soared even more. The following season, I set an American record in the 100-yard freestyle for swimmers missing one arm or leg.
Despite endless hours in the pool and the transition from bodybuilding to more functional training in the gym, I wound up falling short of my Paralympic dreams. On the bright side, now that I wasn’t swimming 17 hours per week, I suddenly had a whole lot more time to engage in and study resistance training. Upon my old personal trainer’s suggestion, I enrolled in NPTI. The rest is history.